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Are you a TRAVELLER? Does the smell of spices wafting
through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking
horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing
at Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Agulhas, South Africa, and??? Where will YOU be?
Christmas Day, 1999
Traditionally there are a number of riders meeting up at Ushuaia at Christmas, as it's a logical stopping point in the wilds of South America. Two years ago when we were there, there were over a dozen riders from half a dozen countries. For those who make it this year, send us a pic so we can post it here in the newsletter.
Cape Agulhas is a tougher meeting point. Being so close to the amenities of Cape Town, there is no easy and logical meeting point. If you're in the area - and we know Greg Frazier at least is planning to be there, and has apparently already lined up half a dozen people for a bash - post it in the Bulletin Board and meet up with some fellow travellers!
GET YOUR WEB SITE LISTED in the LINKS section by listing HorizonsUnlimited on YOUR website, let me know you've done it by mailing me a link to the page, and you'll get listed here in the next newsletter and on the Horizons Unlimited website Links page.
All sites will be considered for listing, but must be a MOTORCYCLE site, useful or of interest in some way to travellers.
Links will be rotated regularly as needed.
All comments and suggestions are carefully read, and where possible will be acted on. Your help will make this a useful service for all travellers.
I will try
to respond, please be patient. ALL e-mail is normally replied to quickly,
but who knows - we may be on the road!
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Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine
- Copyright 1999, Horizons Unlimited and Grant Johnson. All rights reserved.
"Not content with horses of flesh, they are building
horses of iron"
thanks to Nigel Marx, NZ, for the quote
Welcome to the first edition of the newsletter. I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed putting it together!
Over the twelve years we've been travelling, we've met a great many people, motorcyclists and non, all of whom have renewed and strengthened our faith in the brotherhood of man. We have found that people are much the same everywhere you go, we all have much the same hopes and dreams, we all enjoy meeting others, and our curiosity about the world is only matched by our interest in the people we meet along the way.
I hope that this newsletter will help to foster the community of spirit so evident in the motorcyclists we have met, enabling them to keep track of those they have met along the way, and meet new friends.
See you on the road,
Please feel free to submit news reports, web links etc. to me for inclusion here. This is planned as a free service to travellers everywhere, both on the road and off. Subsequent editions are planned to be at least monthly, but will be more often if there is sufficient interest and support.
Lever Rukhin, USA, to who knows where, in Mongolia/Russia:
"I am in Ulan Bator awaiting a new Russian visa. Fulcrum (his R1100GS [Grant]) is strong and healthy. The temperature has fallen into the negatives. Tomorrow I drive back to Russia, three thousand kilometers north into Siberia to avoid China."
Lever made it to Vladivostok a few weeks later, from where he sent me an e-mail letting me know he had made it. In my reply I said:
"Congratulations on crossing Russia - WELL DONE!
His reply: "Eh, what does Guinness know anyway!
Sounds to me like he just sits there and creates these inane rules for the
sake of setting a standard. But ok, I'll play along. I'll respect tradition.
Now back in the USA, he's looking to sell a few photos and stories to finance the next leg, to the bottom of South America. Contact him.
Mika Kuhn, Germany - in Pakistan:
"in Pakistan you have only two traffic rules. The first one is: drive in the middle or on the left side. The second nobody can remember. But to make the traffic more easy for the normal Pakistani, they don't have to follow this rules if they are a Muslim, driver of a diesel vehicle or have more than two horns...
Today I returned to Islamabad from the north, from the Karakorum Highway. A wonderful stretch of road, I mean it is a scenic road and not a good road. But it was too cold to go all the way up to the Kunjerab Pass at the Chinese border; I had to turn around because I was too afraid of any truck losing control on icy roads and crashing into my small bike. If you travel the KKH, do it in the summer.
Tomorrow I will do a bit of work on the bike in the morning, take a hot shower and have a shave in one of the barber shops. Than I will start to go to Lahore and cross into India on Sunday, inshallah, if god wills."
Good luck Mika, we'll be waiting to see how you make out!
Chris Bright, UK - Turkey through to Egypt:
In Turkey..."In Olympos I stayed in a tree house. Very mellow and relaxing indeed.
The highlight... to Chimaera to see flames burning on the hill side. There seems to be natural gas under the surface which seeps through to the surface to burn away merrily. There were about 10 different flames ranging from a couple of inches to 2 feet high. Ancient mariners used this as a sighting beacon/ type of light house long before they were invented. As I looked beyond the frames there was more light. Stars in their millions. The Milky Way formed a huge white band across the sky. I have never seem so many stars as that night.
In Jordan..."I had all my camera gear, Jack Kirouak's 'On the Road' (with 20 pages left to read!) and some other stuff stolen. To say I was unimpressed is an understatement.
Trying to get a police report involved the biggest wild goose chase with a mad / deranged police captain. Backwards, forwards, this Directorate, that Directorate (incl. the D of Residancy (sic) and Border, D of Home Affairs and probably the D of Funny Walks too). So many people said there was 'no procedure', 'no possibility', 'not in their jurisdiction blah, blah , blah...
I expressed my anger in surprisingly (for me) measured tones and the captain immediately insisted he was more angry than me.... pure vintage Monty Python. At one point he gave me his service revolver (without the bullets, mind!) to play around with. At the end he asked me whether I'm 'happy' or not!...
I also hear that my Sudanese visa application had finally been refused with no reasons given...
Petra was 'spectacular'. These people must have been totally 'Groessenwahnsinnig'. Absolutely mind blowing stuff. South from Petra I was stoned (the rock variety). A British cyclist even had the pleasure of rocks being chucked at him 5 times in one day alone!
Let's see what fun Egypt has in store..."
A Note from the front, Egypt:
"I'm having lots of adventures involving Egyptian bureaucracy, fried starter motors and generally annoying..."
Are we having fun yet Chris? More to come soon...
Out of the frying pan into... Ethiopia next...
Ryan Wagner and Dan Koengeter, USA, to South America and Africa - in Guatemala:
"The most memorable night was somewhere in the state of Oaxaca, Mex. It was beginning to get dark so we pulled off the road to discuss where we should stay for the night...four people appeared carrying large bags of maize...After several minutes of conversation they offered us accommodation for the night.
It was a small village of about 80 inhabitants, all of whom were very curious about who the new guests were.
...in Guatemala staying with some Peace Corps volunteers. We are in a small village, which is fascinating and very different from anything we have ever experienced. It is very poor here, much more so than Mexico. The people mostly speak their native language and not Spanish or English.
This way of life is something we cannot even imagine living in the US. They live very close to the earth and their greatest value is in each other. We feel very welcome and work with our Peace Corps host to help as much as we can.
This is an eye opening experience for us and reminds us of why we took this trip."
We had a number of e-mails back and forth with Ryan as they prepared for their first big trip, it was great getting to know him and helping out. We were pleased to receive from them; "thank you for all of the advice and help this summer. You have helped me tremendously, and I will always remember your kind words of support."
Keep the rubber side down and have a great time guys! Wish we were there too! Grant
Globeriders, Trevor and Noah, USA, around the world, in Argentina:
"We have survived the 25,000 kms from New York to Buenos Aires...Since our last update we have ridden across southern Bolivia, from Uyuni through the Salar - the Salt Flats - into the north of Chile and then through Argentina to Buenos Aires. The Salar was spectacular: a vast (12,000 square km) expanse of shimmering white that gave us the sense of riding across the Antarctic...middle of this vista lie several rather surreal rocky islands, complete with cacti and tourists' 4x4 trucks... Overnight at Laguna Colorado, the temperature dropped to -20C (that's -5F!). Sorry, but we promised each other we wouldn't tell whether or not we had to snuggle .... After crossing the Paso Jama into Argentina, it was Trevor's turn to be separated from his bike at high speed: a front tire blowout at 90 km/h on a dirt road can be controlled for only so long. Fortunately, no major injury (or damage to the bike)...keen to get to Africa, where the real adventure awaits...researching the next leg of Globeride. As soon as we've made sense of the dodgy situations in the Congo, Ethiopia and several other countries on our planned route, we'll be off north. Until then - please keep those donations to Save the Children and AMURT flowing in."
Greg Frazier, USA, on the SECOND leg of his SECOND trip around the world, in Botswana:
"160 k's of foot deep dust hiding potholes the size of bath tubs. In between these killer dust bowls were washboard sections. The washboard sections are fine at 40-60 mph, but that is too fast to slow down before your drop into one of these flour wallows filled with white dust. Hit one of those at 40 mph and for sure it is a leg breaker. So the rub is you have to run along at about 30 mph which means the washboard section rattles everything. The ends of the handlebars move up and down about one inch, my wrists go numb and you are moving so slow the white dust keeps up with you... 160 k's took me four hours...
Camping here is about as exciting at it gets. Two nights ago I put my tent up in the dark and after it was up, I noticed several (like 20-30) huge piles of dung around my campsite. When I say huge I mean as big around as a manhole cover and a foot high. Now a Montana cow can leave a pretty good pile, but whatever left these was much bigger. A quick inspection of these foot high piles found none to be steaming. That I thought was a good sign.
Sometime in the middle of the night I felt the earth shake. It was as if someone had dropped a 50 lb. bag of potatoes from the 20th floor of a building. Something big, very big, was near my tent and I wondered it it could see my tent or tell it apart from a bush, which these big animals walk through like they were not there. My reaction? Well, I am not really a tough guy so I decided to stay right where I was, in my tent. It was either a rhino or elephant (or a hippo - much more dangerous! - [Grant]) just outside and I was an easy mark for either trying to get away. Instead I turned on my flash light and did my best to sing "I Get High With A Little Help From My Friends" Joe Cocker style. The pile dropper outside decided either they did not like my singing or my light. I heard them walk through a few bushes and into the night."
Nat Crewe, UK, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in USA:
Nat is riding in memory of Quentin Crewe and in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
"Nicaragua had terrible roads, and it was the first place that I felt threatened and unwelcome and was I glad to make the crossing into Costa Rica. The terrible devastation the rains and storms these areas have suffered in the last couple of years are still very much in evidence. Whole roads have been washed away and there are frequent landslides, blocking roads for days. Bridges are being rebuilt and there are constant detours through muddy, one-track roads. Sometimes I have had to ford rivers where the water has come so high that it has spilled into my boots and had my exhaust spluttering. One fifty-mile stretch took me 3½ hours of slipping and sliding and three drops because of the mud that came up to the engine."
Now in Costa Rica - a real haven for travellers...
read more at his website
Ken and Carol Duval (Australia)
Back in the UK after a spin around Europe, and are now preparing to follow the (former) Paris-Dakar rally, now the Dakar-Cairo - I think that's what it's called this year...
Anke and Jan Eggengoor (Germany)
Haven't been heard from - anybody have any info?
Max Giovanni (Italy)
Finally been heard from after his "Italy - Middle East back to Italy - Buenos Aires - Ushuaia north to Colombia (with Grant - read about our adventures in Peru-Colombia) and north to Alaska" Whew. Got that? ...and then he disappeared. Anyway, he has just bought a house in Ostuni (Brindisi), Italy! Don't know what her name is, but with Max there's definitely a her!
Renate and Gino (Germany)
In Bolivia, after riding down from Vancouver. They are looking to be in Ushuaia for Christmas, so keep an eye out for them!
Guy and Marleen Bauwens (Belgium)
Peter and Kay Forwood, (Australia)
Currently in Australia planning to leave shortly for the Middle East and Africa on their continuing around the world trip on a Harley.
Bernd Tesch and Patricia Govers (Germany)
In Australia touring around on a pair of XT600s generously loaned by Kurt Weidner of Bike Tours Australia.
Erin and Chris Ratay (USA)
Just arrived in Israel, heading for India early in December.
Ryan and Dan (USA) want to know who's in South America or Central America - would love to meet up with someone. They're currently in Guatemala. Also does anybody have any info on cheap ways to get from Panama to Peru or Ecuador. Flights look too expensive for these super budget travellers, who once said something about not wanting to ever pay for a nights sleep!
Julia and Kevin (UK) have just arrived in the USA on their first big trip, heading to Mexico, looking for tips!
Please Post replies and comments on the Bulletin Board
Submit your tips here, anything goes!
Chris Bright was complaining about poor fuel mileage on his R100GS when he was here, just before leaving on his round the world trip. Ken Duval suggested new needle jets and jet needles. (We also warned him about potential driveshaft problems - but so far so good.) Chris reports in from Turkey that he had a big improvement in mileage with the new jets.
It's probably time for me to replace mine! Last time mine were replaced was also in England - 3 continents ago! Note: the jet needles rattle about in the needle jet considerably while running, causing wear, and eventually an excessively rich mixture and poor fuel mileage. Since most of your running is on the needles, this can be worth 20% or more off your usual mileage.
Chris Bright's latest tip, in Turkey:
I did manage to talk my way out of a 11.3 million lire (US$25) speeding ticket (121 km/h in a 99 zone) The 'didn't know, no money, I'm a stupid tourist with a daft grin' trick worked, but I don't want to push my luck again."
Greg Frazier on R80 G/S to R100GS,: ...a pretty reliable ride if you know what to fix. Before I started off I had Motorrad Elektrik(USA - ask them for their catalog - [Grant]) send me the "right stuff", like rebuilt rotor, new electric can, high output regulator, and some super coils. All of this stuff is junk on the original R80's so I carry the original stuff as spares.
Forwarded to me from Greg Frazier, USA, as he was about to leave on the second leg of his SECOND trip around the world:
"As I look at the floor in my sleeping room I
see piles of clothes, spare motorcycle parts, boots, medical supplies, rain
gear, gloves, helmet and assorted camping supplies like tent, bag and my
writing notebooks. In a few short days I'll be in Africa, and I am already
missing my amenities here in America. Then I get the following in the mail
from a friend who knows I am leaving on this next leg of my world tour. It
makes packing much easier.
Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine
to a friend! Just forward it to them, or send them the link to the newsletter on the website.
I am working on a listing of people who have ridden around the world, as well as what I call "significant journeys" e.g. the first across Africa. Any information you may have on this topic, please let me know. Preferably post it on the Bulletin Board, or e-mail me direct.
Thanks for joining us for this first issue of the newsletter, we hope you enjoyed it, and do please let us know your thoughts. It's your newsletter, help us fine tune it so it helps you!
See you on the road,
Grant and Susan Johnson
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